The big headline: Patriots sign linebacker Ramon Humber to a one-year deal.
Patriots sign Ramon Humber, release Dane Fletcher https://t.co/hRGqX8awpo
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 9, 2016
Did you really expect the Patriots to lead the way and sign a big money player on Day 1? If so, shame on you.
Bill Belichick is sitting back; watching other teams make their moves so far. There were a sizable amount of signings on Wednesday; perhaps the biggest news is Brock Osweiler is heading to the Texans. And some of the dream targets for the fans have been taken off the table like Matt Forte and Lamar Miller.
The only QB on the roster of the defending Super Bowl champs is Trevor Siemian, who looks appropriately surprised. pic.twitter.com/8bsPfRDYUr
— SportsPickle (@sportspickle) March 9, 2016
While Denver continues to lose player after player, the Patriots are sitting pretty with plenty of options still left on the table. The most notable individuals that New England has been linked to so far: Mohamed Sanu, Anquan Boldin, and James Jones.
Here’s a surprise, the Patriots are interested in a free agent who went to Rutgers https://t.co/dOiYI9rnsF
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 9, 2016
Sanu is apparently heading to Atlanta to meet with the Falcons. It has been reported that Sanu will come with a price tag close to $7 million a year. Considering that cap hit it is extremely unlikely that Mohamed ends up in a Patriots uniform. With that being said, he is scheduled to visit the Patriots later this week.
The Patriots seem to be potentially taking a curiously older approach to the wide receiver position with interest in both Anquan Boldin and James Jones. I’m weary on Boldin’s prospects right away as he is 35 years old. However, his age might open the window for the Patriots to take a chance on him. When the Patriots cut Brandon LaFell they didn’t lose any production. All they need is a reliable guy who will consistently catch the ball and we know Boldin can at least do that.
Enter James Jones. I have always been a huge fan of the player and he is four years younger than Boldin. He has been a very productive wide receiver over the course of his career and almost seemingly makes big plays. Last year, he averaged 17.8 yards a catch, and put up 8 touchdowns. He’s definitely a player that could be a wonderful addition to the Patriots arsenal despite his age. Jones was a Packers fan favorite in his time in Green Bay.
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) March 9, 2016
On the younger end of the spectrum, the Patriots have contacted Rishard Matthews, formerly of the Dolphins. He is only 26 years old and would be a fantastic player for the Patriots. He averaged 15.4 yards a reception, 662 yards, and four touchdowns last year for the Dolphins. There hasn’t been any specific contract numbers mentioned yet for Matthews.
The Patriots still need a running back and some of the players they have been linked to are now off the table. Perhaps most notably: Forte decided to pick the Jets, a team without a quarterback after proclaiming his intent to sign with a contender.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 9, 2016
The name that is most exciting for the most for the Patriots is C.J. Anderson. The running back position isn’t anywhere nearly as important as it used to be but Anderson is a very fine player. C.J. is also the exact type of running back the Patriots need. There seems to be mutual interest as Anderson has lauded Tom Brady in the past. For example, his Instagram post after the AFC Championship game:
I know a lot of people hate this man but man when he was pick 199 and was over look he inspired me I was undrafted and over came all the odds so bless what he told me at the end of this game. He said “CJ way to fight and prove everybody wrong you belong in this league and your one hell of a player I love the way you run keep climbing to be great” those words meant so much growing up watching Tom overcame I’m proud to say I’m 3-2 vs his teams and proud to say I get to battle him every year. Thanks Tom for telling me those words they will stick and I know a lot of people don’t like you but I have MAD RESPECT. Thanks I see you overcome as others in this league and now it’s my turn. 💯🏈🙏🏾🙏🏾
It has been rumored today that the Dolphins, Bears, 49ers, and Patriots all have interest in the running back. Since Anderson is a restricted free agent it will be a more tricky signing as Elway has the opportunity to match offers from other teams. With Denver losing player after player, why would Anderson want to stay as a Bronco? Right now they look like a team that is heading downhill.
Another running back that is not on the same level of Anderson that may land with the Patriots is Bilal Powell. He is a former New York Jet. The Patriots have been on the list of teams interested in Powell from the beginning. It would be nice to see Belichick make a run at a higher end back like Anderson but Powell would be a very solid plan B.
The free agency market is deep which helps Bill sit back and watch some of the other teams set the bar. Belichick is exercising patience while other teams pull the trigger on other free agents. Luckily the Patriots already have most of their offense returning so there is no need to go crazy in the first few days. All the Patriots need is a consistent RB — and someone who won’t drop the ball as much as LaFell — and they will be golden.
It will be an interesting few days heading forward as the Patriots likely will fill one of their holes through free agency. What or how or who is not exactly apparent yet. As my colleague Alan Miller said to me: Teams who win in March rarely win in January.
Until more news comes out, it’s wait and see for the Patriots and their fans.